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At last the tires stop their crunching.For I have now reached the final end of this long gravel road.
And the beginning of the journey's destination.
The engine dies and I step stiffly out
groaning at flexing old legs
and inhale cool air untainted by man.

Then with my old staff in hand
I approach the forested edge of the primitive forest service road.
That first step...freedom from worries at last.
Now begins the hunt.

The road, as forest service roads do, had followed a ridge.
So having no choice, save left or right,
I head left, downhill toward the lowering afternoon sun.
Beneath that muted type of shade
found only under large pine trees,
I walk on a lush near silent needle carpet.

The camouflage of hunting deer
is a mere excuse.
But who knows?.................
"accidents Do happen" I think with silent grin.
So I begin a shuffling uneven walk,
bequeathed to me by long passed injuries,
seeking buck sign : tracks, rubs, scat..........
things to belie a course to be taken
while dry air slowly cools on this clear December day.

Upon topping a gentle pine ridge
I come upon an old skid trail
near as old as these tall pines
spotted here and there with saplings and vines.
and one bit of bare windswept ground.
And there it is.
In the center of that bare damp ground:
a large deer track,
far too large to be a doe.

So I stop to really look around.
The track edges are still damp and crisp;
fresh.Now I see a game trail whose direction is
accentuated by a a row of large rubbed saplings
which blaze this skid path's winding course through the pines
which whisper to me "f o l l o w...."

Which I do.
Stride still nearly silent on the thick pine needle carpet,
I go "quickly". But quickly has a different meaning than it once did.
New meaning? A limping gait, to most a slow halting progression,
as the sun and I both head toward our setting.
Step, staff,step,staff...pause..step, staff on down the trail.
And now the trail descends.
Descent is harder than ascent, for those with bad knees.
And now the pines sigh goodbye as a hardwood valley says nothing.
These old sentinels keep their own counsel and their own silence.
The shade of these now bare trees is fleeting. A pattern almost ..
lace-like. I take a break and lean against a smooth barked beech. And like this valley I brood
on a winter afternoon. And I look. Down the hillside, gentle and wide.
Wide enough to not see its end. But look! Downhill almost out of sight.
A pawed place (buck's pheromone soaked calling card).

So I right myself and keep seeking and pursuing hints
of a phantom's destination.

Soon, through the columns of oaks, beech, hickories and poplars
a glint of water appears. Twenty more steps reveals a stream. Forty more a
low-flowing stream.
And the woods change nearly imperceptibly.
For now poplars, beech and river birch reign.
On a narrow flood plain, long unused.

And the dim trail turns to follow it.
Some wood ducks flush with a splash and whistle
from the steep banked stream bed.
A squirrel scolds me, telling me to go.
And a low spot in the bank approaches
at the mouth of a small hollow.

There, where the bank isn't so steep. where a few muscadine vines creep,
the trail dips to the stream. To a large sand bar.
And that large track once more is clear.It points and crosses to the other side.
To a floodplain dense and wide. Thick with privet hedge and switch cane.
A perfect place for deer to hide. A near jungle of low growth with scattered large trees.
And my stalk reaches its end. I'll never see him today. The brush on the other side is too thick, too noisy.
the water still too deep and cold.
( I'll not admit the hunter is too old)

So I tip my hat to the other side. That deer is there somewhere. A safe refuge.
I turn to retrace my steps. And smile. I traveled his track. But not so much for him, but for the lands through which he led me. A wild untamed land of solitude. A bit like me
or so I tell myself.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Last few words: 
I got to thinking it had been a LONG time since I'd seen poetic prose here. So I took a stab at it. Hope you enjoyed it...............stan
Editing stage: 


I liked it but there are a few missed spelling mistakes and

...and enhale cool air untinted by man.

did you mean untinted ? or did you mean untainted either would work here though

its nice to see some prose its enjoyable when its done write lol excuse the pun :)

I look forward to the edits on this one

love JC x

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” — W.B. Yeats

Mee mizpel something?!? lol. I'll get those things fixed asap. And you're right to expect edits but it may take a little bit.Thanks for dropping by...............stan

author comment

Jayne said there were a few spelling mistakes, look I know you know how to spell, Crunching beginning camouflage centre pheromone imperceptivity, it is totally inconceivable that you would do that in such a good piece of writing.
Away from your normal write this was very enjoyable, you take care,
Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

This is what I get for late night writing straight onto computer lol. At least that's what I'll blame it on. Thanks for the further catches. I'll now pull out the old dictionary.....................stan

author comment

I'd have to tell
to correct their vocab
as Stan
our only man
I want to stand by
sHpellings go to Zhell
let Stan beat or crush the sapail scheck

I assuhure zu
i am camouflaging the truth
i haven't yet rhed zu

efi currreel paveotry


Although intentional, I now don't feel Quite so bad about my tipoos lmao. Thanks for visiting.............stan

author comment
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